If you’ve updated to iOS 7 and are experiencing low battery life, it may be because iOS 7 automatically refreshes apps running in the background. At first, you might think that when you exit an app to return to the home screen, that app will pause itself until you return to it. However, it does actually refresh the data while running in the background so you don’t have to manually refresh the data when you return to it.
This is known as the “intelligent” multitasking feature in iOS 7, but for some users it may just be a battery draining feature. Luckily you can turn it off so when you exit an app it really pauses everything until you open it again.
Disable Background Refresh
This feature is enabled by default, so to turn it off, open the Settings app and go to . This will open a window with a list of applications and their toggle switches next to them. By default, all toggle switches you see are green. If that’s the case and you want to turn off background refresh, you’ll want to tap the toggle switch next to “Background App Refresh”. You will get a warning that “This will prevent all apps, including gofences, from using Location Services in the background”. If you still want to disable the feature, tap “Disable Background App Refresh”.
You should be good to go from there and hopefully you’ll experience better battery life. As noted in the warning before disabling the feature, apps that use GPS will no longer be able to use GPS while running in the background. This means that if you have navigation turned on on your phone but want to switch to another app while navigation is in progress, it will stop using GPS while navigation is running in the background, so it’s a bit of a problem when you switch back to it.
Customizing Background App Refresh
You’ve probably seen the list of apps under the home button on the “Background App Refresh” page. These are apps that can use the background refresh feature, and apps with a compass arrow next to them are apps that use GPS in the background. You can switch between individual apps and only have certain apps that use background refresh; this is a great way to have better control over what apps can and cannot do.
Personally, I enable background refresh for maps and weather apps, but disable it for apps that don’t really need a background refresh, like Evernote and Stocks. However, it’s up to you which apps you don’t want to automatically refresh while running in the background.